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Chapter 309 Popular

The news of Michael's victory against the Blood Witch spread like wildfire.

It took less than ten minutes before Lincoln, and Kaleb gave him a call to question him.

He expected some calls, but he didn't accept any. Instead, he told them to meet at the cafeteria since he was hungry.

Michael was a little exhausted – more mentally than physically –, so he called them over to talk while he would fill his empty stomach to the brim.

On his way to the cafeteria, Michael noticed that some students looked weirdly at him. He tried to isolate his mind and ignore their gazes, but the respect and fear he sensed was too intense to ignore completely.

A sense of pride filled Michael's heart the longer his fellow students stared at him. This didn't change even after the lingering gazes disappeared as he entered the cafeteria.

It was still early in the morning, so the cafeteria was mostly empty. Only a few cooks from the night shift were present. They were bored at the lack of students coming over to the cafeteria at night, only to rejoice when they saw Michael.

Michael was glad that the Saphirelake Military Academy was adamant about having a 24-hour service in the cafeteria. Not everyone had enough time to schedule their meals precisely while juggling studies and the development of their territory. Thus, a handful of students could be found in the cafeteria at any time.

"You old scheming bastard. Did you really defeat the Blood Witch in two seconds?!?" Lincoln shouted excitedly the moment he spotted Michael juggling two jumbo plates while heading towards an empty table.

His voice rang through the entire cafeteria, attracting the attention of the few students around. Even the cooks looked up to see what was going on, only to see that Michael sat down and started to eat as if nothing happened.

Lincoln approached Michael hurriedly and sat down opposite him, followed by Zeke, who didn't say a word. He just listened while staring at Michael.

"Do you even know how many rumors your fight against the Blood Witch caused? It hasn't even been an hour since the ranking changed, yet the academy forum is filled with more than 20 threads about you," Lincoln said, pressing his palms against the table while shifting his weight from one leg to another restlessly.

Lincoln had always been a little impatient, but it was worse when he was excited.

"Since the ranking can only be changed by the referees and higher authorities, it's a fact that you defeated the Blood Witch. Congratulations," Zeke said calmly, ignoring the excitement of his childhood friend.

Michael smiled at Zeke before his attention moved to Lincoln.

"Most of these threads are exaggerated. I used my ring artifact's storage ability to overpower the Blood Witch before she could transform. She didn't expect me to barge through her blood bullets and restrain her daemon transformation, or whatever she calls it," He answered nonchalantly before he continued to eat.

The cooks of the Saphirelake Military Academy were the best, and Michael felt captivated by the wonderful taste. The food in front of him was clearly better than staring at the Blood Witch!

"I went all out to ensure that no one would even think of challenging me before we depart to the Battle Exchange. I am busy and have to do a few things before we leave," Michael added between mouthfuls of food.

Using the Power of Enhancement stored in the ring artifact allowed him to unleash a power that someone at his rank would never be able to reveal. No one possessed enough energy to do so as a Low Tier-2 Lord.

"So that's why you've been storing energy in the ring since yesterday," Zeke remarked, suddenly recalling Michael's actions from before, stating it more as a matter of fact than a question.

Michael affirmed Zeke's suspicion with a nod while continuing to eat.

"But that doesn't explain why you had to traumatize her," Kaleb said, approaching the group from behind.

He heard what Michael said as he entered the cafeteria and joined their discussion.

"I actually expected her to be a little bit stronger: It was a little bit underwhelming, so I ended up piercing her with the Qi Swords even though she had already given up mentally," Michael explained.

He sounded nonchalant but the disappointment in his eyes was apparent. Seeing his expression was enough to lighten the atmosphere. Lincoln and Kaleb smiled at their friend, and the corner of Zeke's lips curled upward as well.

"Aren't you getting too arrogant now? Do you want me to beat you a little bit?" Lincoln asked jokingly, only for Kaleb to add, "Add me as well. It has been a while since we sparred. Let me show you how strong my Frozen Nova has gotten!"

Lincoln stared at Kaleb, frowning deeply, "Aren't you too proud of your 7-Star Soultrait? How about I beat some sense into you as well? You're getting cocky…or is that how you've always been?!" He provoked while the smile on his face never ceased.

Kaleb stared at Lincoln, also smiling as he got up from the chair, "Let's go then. We have until the afternoon before we depart. I will show you how strong I've gotten!"

Michael and Zeke looked at the quarreling duo before exchanging amused glances. They smiled wryly and shook their heads.

"I can be the referee," Zeke added when he realized that the quarreling duo was serious.

Meanwhile, Michael shook his head as he said, "I will have to make a few purchases before I deal with the Bartholomew Corporation."

He earned a few confused gazes, which led Michael to explain the situation a little bit more in detail, "I'm investing in the Bartholomew Corporation with Agriculture-type blueprints. They expect a monthly quota, which will be hard to fill once we depart for the Battle Exchange. After all, we'll be staying there for a while."

The Battle Exchange would last for a whole month. After that, the winning batch of students that would be sent into the Lesser Dimension would train to represent the Tritan Alliance as one unit. They would spend two months with the Berserkers and Warlock Centaurs to focus on becoming stronger and improving their teamwork until the Flag War would start.

That meant Michael couldn't provide Agriculture-type blueprints to the Bartholomew Corporation for three months straight at the bare minimum. He had to talk to the higher-ups to make sure that he wouldn't face any penalties for not meeting the requirements stated in the contract, or find another solution.

"You're the new Investor of the Agriculture Project in the Barren Lands?" Zeke asked, his eyes widening a little.

"Hm? Oh, yeah. Didn't I say that before already?" Michael asked, realizing too late that he never told anyone about the deal he made with the Forest Elves and his sponsoring of the Bartholomew Corporation's Agriculture Project.

Zeke stared at Michael for a while, not uttering a single sound. Meanwhile, Kaleb and Lincoln glared at each other with battle spirit in their eyes. The quarreling duo didn't even hear what Michael said. They were only waiting for Zeke to come with them to act as their referee.

"That is…surprising. Or maybe not?" Zeke asked himself. He quietly muttered, "Is that where his fortune comes from? I thought Alice decided to nurture him to turn him into her subordinate…but that might not be the case?"

The words spilled out of Zeke's mouth without him realizing. He had mumbled all of it so silently that Michael could barely hear a small portion of them.

It took Zeke a few seconds to regain his composure. His expression reverted back to his emotionless self, and he got up to leave.

"Seems like I underestimated you. Looks like Alice found a shark among fishes," Zeke mumbled before he turned away, gesturing Lincoln and Kaleb to leave.

Michael couldn't tell what was on Zeke's mind, but it was a positive surprise to see Zeke reacting like a normal human. It was much better to see him react normally rather than his expressionless face, and his monotonous voice.

After his friend left, Michale continued eating. He opened the holographic screen of the crystal watch, looked at the messages he received from Alice, and the Barbaric Couple, who had also heard about his fight with the Blood Witch. After that, he opened the academy forum to see how exaggerated the threads about him were.

Michael read through the threads for a few minutes. He scratched the back of his head and smiled lightly.

"They didn't really exaggerate. 'Using Powers stronger than his Tier' doesn't seem wrong since I used 10-layer enhancement with the help of Dragon Might's storage, and I 'overwhelmed the Blood Witch before she could transform'. Maybe I didn't traumatize the Blood Witch, but given that she was twitching like a fish on land after the medics healed her…she might have been traumatized."

Somehow, Michael felt a little bit bad when he read through the threads. He had been genuinely surprised to find out that the Blood Witch was much weaker than he expected. He thought that his attacks had been necessary to emerge victorious. Unfortunately, he didn't realize how overwhelmingly powerful Extraction had grown with a 10-layer Enhancement.

The Blood Witch hadn't been able to react at all, meaning that Michael's Qi Swords hadn't been necessary.

The threads described him as a merciless and cruel Awakened who should be avoided at all costs.

Even Michael felt a little bit disgusted with himself once he finished reading through all threads. But then again, it was not as if he should have held back in the first place.

It was better to go all out.

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